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DSST Environmental Science Study Guide

Updated: Aug 18

Are you studying for the Environmental Science DSST exam?

If so, you'll want to look at our study guide and learn what to expect on your test.

DSST Environmental Science is a college-level, two-hour exam that covers physical and biological aspects of the environment.

Its objectives are to develop an understanding of environmental concepts, systems thinking, and the role of science in decision-making.

Table of Contents

  1. Ecological Concepts

  2. Habitat Destruction

  3. Environment Management and Conservation

  4. Social Processes and the Environment

  5. Conclusion

  6. Student Resources

  7. References

1. Ecological Concepts

DSST Environmental Science Exam Outline. Ecological Concepts (29% - 31%)
Ecological Concepts (29% - 31%)

  • Ecosystems: Natural systems consisting of all living and non-living things.

  • Role of organisms: Producers, consumers, and decomposers.

  • Biodiversity and stability: The total richness of biological variation.

  • Energy flow: The flow of energy through a food chain.

  • Trophic levels: The feeding position in a food chain, such as primary producers, herbivores, and carnivores.

  • Food chains and food webs: Food chains are a sequence of organisms that feed upon one another in a sequence (BCBD), and food webs are the interconnected sets of many food chains (BCBD).

  • Biogeochemical cycling: The changes a particular element goes through as it passes back and forth through the various earth systems, particularly between living and non-living matter.

  • Biomes and productivity: Large community of plants and animals that occupy a distinct region defined by its climate and dominant vegetation.

  • Population biology: Study of populations of organisms.

  • Evolution: Process in which species of organisms change over a long period through genetic variation and natural selection.

  • Succession in freshwater and terrestrial communities: A series of biological communities replace each other over time in a predictable fashion.

DSST Environmental Science Trivia Question #143

2. Habitat Destruction

DSST Environmental Science Exam Outline. Habitat Destruction (24% - 26%)
Habitat Destruction (24% - 26%)

  • Human population dynamics: Human population growth is growing at about 1.5% annually, with 89 million people annually.

  • Global climate and weather: While the weather can change in just a few hours, the climate is the average weather in a given place, and climate changes occur over extended time frames.

  • Ozone layer: A deadly blue form of oxygen occurring naturally in large stratosphere concentrations.

  • Pollution-physical, chemical, and biological aspects: Anything that corrupts, degrades, or makes something less valuable or desirable can be considered pollution.

  • Agricultural, technological and industrial advances: We saw a massive and rapid increase in agricultural productivity and vast improvements in farm technology between the 18th century and the end of the 19th century.

  • Industrial development of emerging nations: In recent decades, a few countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa have experienced substantial industrial growth fueled by exporting to more significant economies.

  • Habitat destruction: An example is biodiversity loss by clearing tropical forests.

  • Desertification: The transformation of land once suitable for agriculture into a desert.

  • Eutrophication: The process of heightened biological productivity in a body of water.

3. Environment Management and Conservation

Environment Management and Conservation (24% - 26%)
Environment Management and Conservation (24% - 26%)

  • Renewable and nonrenewable resources: Renewable energy is an energy source that can be quickly replenished.

  • Agricultural practices: Determine the level of food production and the state of the global environment to a great extent.

  • Pesticides and pest control: A substance or mix used to prevent or destroy pests such as insects, mice, unwanted plants, and other animals.

  • Soil conservation and land use practices: There's a growing need to prevent and control soil erosion and contamination to maintain soil fertility.

  • Air pollution control: Air pollution control can be split into two categories: the control of particulate emissions and gaseous emissions.

  • Water quality and supply: Parameters for drinking water quality typically fall under two categories: chemical/physical and microbiological.

  • Wastewater treatment: The process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage.

  • Solid and hazardous waste: Contains properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment.

  • Recycling and resources recovery: Recycling turns waste into valuable products.

  • Environmental risk assessment: Analyzing and evaluating the possibility of adverse environmental effects caused by environmental pollutants.

DSST Environmental Science Trivia Question #524

4. Social Processes and the Environment

DSST Environmental Science Exam Outline. Social Processes and the Environment (19% - 21%)
Social Processes and the Environment (19% - 21%)

  • Environmental laws, policies, and ethics: Created to protect the environment and natural resources affected, impacted, or endangered by human activities.

  • Planning and decision making: Based on quantified data on the environment's vulnerability, the status of conservation, and its ability to recover.

  • International policy conflicts and agreements: Attention began to increase regarding global environmental problems during the Cold War era, particularly after 1972.

  • Differing cultural and societal values: Environmental policy is sometimes driven by cultural norms, which may be seen as negative or positive depending on the point of view.

DSST Environmental Science Trivia Question #717

5. Conclusion: DSST Environmental Science

To do well on the Environmental Science DSST exam, you must understand the critical ecological concepts.

This exam covers various topics, but understanding how ecosystems work and the role of different organisms within them is essential.

Also, you'll need to be familiar with energy flow and trophic levels.

If you want to study these concepts more in-depth, our preparation course has everything you need.

With relevant practice questions, we have the most extensive online DSST course library.

Sign up today and start preparing for your Environmental Science DSST exam!

6. Student Resources

7. References

DSST Environmental Science Fact Sheet

DSST Environmental Science Fact Sheet
Download PDF • 212KB

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